Posted in Grenada

Top 10 Best Things To Do And See In Grenada!

I have been on many island tours in the ten years that I have been living on the Caribbean island of Grenada. In this blog I share my favourite experiences from across the Isle of Spice.

We go to: Annandale Waterfall, Pearls Airport, River Sallee Sulphur Spring, engage with the Grand Etang Mona Monkey, enjoy the Welcome Stone views, Grand Etang Lake, Concord Waterfalls, Bathway Beach, Diamond (Jouvay) Chocolate Factory and Levera Beach.

And as I continue to explore this beautiful island, including the sister isle of Carriacou & Petite Martinique, I will add more places to this blog!

(1) Annandale Waterfall

Our first stop is Annandale Waterfall which can be found in the area of Willis in the Parish of St George and is part of the Annandale Forest Park.

Wild Orchid Bar & Restaurant

Years ago, the area around the waterfall was a forest and untouched but today there is a bar and restaurant called Wild Orchid Grenada which also has an entertainment space hosting live bands and events.

A vendor in the gift shop at Annandale Waterfall

Before heading down to the waterfall, we passed through a gift shop selling spices, jewelry, arts and crafts and much more. There are also toilet facilities!

a vendor with spices, hot sauce and fans in the gift shop at Annandale Waterfall

On the day I visited the cruise line ships were in and so it was very busy with tourists.

arts & crafts in the gift shop at Annandale Waterfall

Inside the gift shop we paid a fee to walk to the waterfall. At the time of my visit (Nov 2022) it was $10EC for tourists and $3EC for Grenada nationals and citizens. The fee is fair if you are using the facilities but questionable if all you are doing is observing the waterfall.

Tourists love the ladies with baskets on their head!

On the way down to the waterfall we came across two women with baskets of fruits and flowers on their head. They were looking very colourful and offered a great opportunity for a selfie.

Upstairs at Wild Orchid Bar & Restaurant

Upstairs at Wild Orchid is a lovely space for hanging with friends and family. You can sip on a cold drink and enjoy the waterfall below.

admiring the Annandale Waterfall

The waterfall itself is not as tall as some but still very powerful and impressive. And there is a nice pool below the waterfall where you can go for a dip.

Annandale waterfall jumper

I came across a waterfall jumper who, if you pay a donation, will jump from the top of the falls. Personally I felt he should jump and then ask for a tip. I imagine he would make more money that way.

(2) Pearls Airport – Airstrip & Old Planes

I love visiting the now defunct Pearls Airport in the Parish of St Andrew. The wonderful landscape reminds me of Jurrasic Park! I keep expecting a dinosaur to step out from between the trees at any moment!

Driving fast down Pears airport airstrip

The airstrip is possibly the longest straight road in Grenada and so I love being in a car that is driven fast from one end to the other! This old airstrip is used by locals for drag racing, kite flying, political rallies and much more!

Enjoying the strong breeze and wild waters at the end of Pearls airport airstrip

Possibly the best feeling on earth is standing at the end of the airstrip to take in the strong breeze and sprays of water from the Atlantic ocean. And the sounds of the crashing waves is wonderful, it reminds you what an amazing world we live in.

derelict plane at old Pearls airport
inside derelict plane at old Pearls airport

Bringing character to Pearls airport are two derelict planes. One is Cuban and the other Russian. Both destroyed by the US military when they invaded Grenada in 1983.

derelict plane at old Pearls airport

I’m pleased with the love and attention that has been paid to this area. At one time the ground was very messy with plants beginning to take over the planes as well as goats and cows roaming around. Now, it has been cleaned up and has become a great spot for taking selfies. There are also picnic tables so the perfect place to bring the whole family.

(3) River Sallee Sulphur Spring

skin exfoliation and detoxification at the sulphur spring

Every visitor to Grenada must experience the seven-step skin exfoliation process at River Sallee Sulphur Spring. First they apply the sulphur all over your body, from head to foot, whilst also performing a massage. Then you wait for fifteen minutes or so, in the sun, for the sulphur to dry. Then the sulphur is dusted off which takes around two minutes.

small but very warm pond at the sulphur spring

You then enter a large warm pond full of sulphur water to soak and wash off the rest of the sulphur. You are then transferred to a smaller sulphur water pond which is even warmer for a lovely long soak. Next you are taken to a well full of sulphur water which is retrieved in a bucket with a string. This water is poured all over your body and it feels so good. The final stage is to be rubbed down, from head to foot, with coconut oil. Altogether an exquisite experience!

sulphur is literally applied head to toe
a Nutmeg at the entrance to the sulphur spring

At the entrance to River Sallee Sulphur Spring our tour guide, Carl Nedd, of Executive Taxi & Tours, (1-473-458-3228) educated us on the many uses of a nutmeg. Every part of the nutmeg is used, nothing goes to waste. Be sure to watch my vlog for the full and fascinating explanation.

(4) Grand Etang Mona Monkey

being extra friendly with a Mona Monkey

I ticked another box on my bucket list when I chilled with a Mona Monkey in the Grand Etang National Park. I was a little afraid, kept thinking the monkey might turn and attack me but, as long as you continue to feed them, they are absolutely fine. The monkey was very light and soft too.

What fascinates me the most about the Mona Monkey is that they exist in Grenada because of the trans Atlantic slave trade. They were transported over, from Ghana, on the slave ships! Handling them made me feel somehow connected to my ancestors.

tour guide, Carl Nedd, relaxing with a Mona Monkey

Helping to make the day extra special was our guide: Carl Nedd of Executive Taxi & Tours (1-473-458-3228). The journey was super comfortable in his luxury car, which had WiFi! Carl shared lots of historical facts and interesting information along the way and he also kept us refreshed with water and rum punch!

(5) Welcome Stone, Levera National Park

enjoying the stunning views at the Welcome Stone – image by Carl Nedd

At last I got to tick this experience off my bucket list which was to sit on the Welcome Stone in Levera National Park in the Parish of St Patrick. I have seen so many people on the internet do this and I longed for it to be me. And the views are even more spectacular than I had seen imagined. Absolutely breathtaking. Thank you tour guide, Carl Nedd, for the wonderful image.

In the very far distance you can see the sister isle of Carriacou and in the near distance Sugar Loaf Island, Green Island and Sandy Island. We drove up a very steep hill and then did a little hiking to reach this point. I was grateful I did not have to hike from the bottom of the hill as I have seen some people do online.

(6) Crater Lake, Grand Etang National Park

crater lake, Grand Etang National Park

If you are looking for a place to relax, feel calm, regulate your breathing and meditate then visit the Grand Etang crater lake. An eerie but stunningly beautiful location which is1,740 ft above sea level.

viewing platform at crater lake, Grand Etang National Park
a perfect spot for selfies, crater lake at Grand Etang National Park

What is particularly fascinating is the way the fog creeps over the mountains in the distance.This volcano last erupted 12000 years ago and helped to form the island of Grenada.

how the gazebos once looked at the crater lake, Grand Etang National Park

Out of interest, once upon a time there were gazebos at the Grand Etang Lake but on a recent visit the gazebos were gone.

the missing gazebos at the crater lake, Grand Etang National Park

A plaque reminds us that they were a gift from the government of China, would love to know whey they have been removed!

Mona Monkeys at the entrance to the crater lake, Grand Etang National Park

Also at the entrance to the Grand Etang lake you can engage with Mona Monkeys!

(7) Concord Waterfall

view of Concord Waterfalls from the road

The very photogenic Concord waterfall. Unlike Annandale there is no fee to view it because it can be seen from both the road and the the gift shop. But if you want to take a dip in its sparkling blue pool you will have to pay a fee to get down there.

view of Concord Waterfalls from the gift shop
gift shop at Concord Waterfalls

I also saw some Mona Monkeys in a cage, at Concord Waterfalls, which saddened me. The cage did not look big enough for them and I had to wonder whether caging them is even legal. Either way, I hope they let them go back to their natural habitat one day!

(8) Bathway Beach

Bathway beach

I love listening to the crashing waves at Bathway Beach which can be found in the Parish of St Patrick. In the distance there is a coral rock shelf which keeps the waters by the sand fairly calm but be sure not to venture beyond those rocks!

on the right is the food and drinks hut at Bathway beach

I used to come to this spot back in the 80s and 90s when there was absolutely nothing there except the ocean and the trees. But I’m glad to see changes to make visitor lives a little easier. These days you will find a food and drinks hut as well as a restroom and showers.

(9) Diamond Chocolate Factory

Outside Diamond Chocolate Factory

If you love dark chocolate then be sure to drop by the Diamond Chocolate Factory. Besides sampling some of the delicious Jouvay chocolate you can also tour the factory to see how the chocolate is made. They also have a gift shop selling local arts and crafts.

Jouvay Chocolate in Diamond Chocolate Factory
locally made gifts in Diamond Chocolate Factory

(10) Levera Beach

Levera Beach in Levera National Park

Another stunningly beautiful location is Levera beach which is a part of the Levera National Park in the north east of Grenada. In the distance is the privately owned Sugar Loaf island which can also be seen from the Welcome Stone.

I mentioned in my video blog that a Citizens By Investment resort is scheduled to be built in the wetlands of the Levera National Park. After doing a little digging to find out its progress I cam across this from Bird Caribbean website. The believe all these CBI resorts in Grenada will have a negative effect on the island, in particular the wildlife, the sea turtles and Grenada’s official bird, the Grenada Dove. Read about it HERE and there is more information on a press release on Now Grenada news website HERE.

Levera Beach In Levera National Park

Levera beach is possibly the strangest beach in Grenada. I say that because I have never seen a single boat on the waters or a single person swimming in the sea. Levera beach is also known as turtle beach because this is where the protected Leatheback turtles come to lay their eggs. You can witness this incredible event with an authorised guide or you can volunteer with turtle conservationist, Ocean Spirits.

Posted in Grenada

Making Oildown In Grenada

On 7th February 2022 Grenada celebrated 48 years of independence. My friend Winston took me to Tempe in St George’s, Grenada, to meet Curtis Boney who was making oildown, the national dish of Grenada, from scratch for the celebrations.

Oildown is a melting pot of cultural history, a one pot, hearty meal made up of local meats, fish, spices and vegetables. The ingrediants may change slightly – depending on the chef – but a must for every oildown is breadfruit, callaloo, coconut oil and dumplings. It is traditionally prepared outside in a social setting and cooked over a wood fire. | Watch The You Tube Vlog Here!

Winston (left) and Curtis Boney in Tempe! | Watch The You Tube Vlog Here!
Curtis place, C&M Magic Tone Bar in Tempe | Watch The You Tube Vlog Here!
Curtis had green beans and had prepared seasoning comprising of onion, garlic and seasoning pepper | Watch The You Tube Vlog Here!
The huge pot for the meat oildown | Watch The You Tube Vlog Here!
Inside the huge pot for the meat oildown | Watch The You Tube Vlog Here!
the smaller pot was for the fish oildown which had breadfruit already prepared by Curtis | Watch The You Tube Vlog Here!
pumpkin | Watch The You Tube Vlog Here!
cabbage | Watch The You Tube Vlog Here!
fish (on the left) and chicken back | Watch The You Tube Vlog Here!
pig snout | Watch The You Tube Vlog Here!
sweet potato, yam and sweetcorn | Watch The You Tube Vlog Here!
Curtis prepares the sweetcorn | Watch The You Tube Vlog Here!
Curtis preparing the pumpkin | Watch The You Tube Vlog Here!
cutting up the Callaloo for the pot | Watch The You Tube Vlog Here!
adding a layer of breadfruit in the pot | Watch The You Tube Vlog Here!
adding the pig snout to the pot | Watch The You Tube Vlog Here!
adding the sweetcorn to the pot | Watch The You Tube Vlog Here!
adding yam to the pot | Watch The You Tube Vlog Here!
A layer of chicken back is added to the pot | Watch The You Tube Vlog Here!
the pot receives another layer of breadfruit | Watch The You Tube Vlog Here!
a layer of cabbage is added to the pot | Watch The You Tube Vlog Here!
Curtis sprinkles seasoning in the pot | Watch The You Tube Vlog Here!
green beans is added to the pot | Watch The You Tube Vlog Here!
pumpkin is added to the pot | Watch The You Tube Vlog Here!
the coconut has been grated and is blended in water | Watch The You Tube Vlog Here!
after blending the coconut is squeezed to make a huge bowl of coconut milk | Watch The You Tube Vlog Here!
several packs of saffron is added to the coconut milk | Watch The You Tube Vlog Here!
Curtis mixes the saffron and coconut milk | Watch The You Tube Vlog Here!
the saffron and coconut milk is added to the pot | Watch The You Tube Vlog Here!
Curits makes some dumplings and puts the pot on the fire | Watch The You Tube Vlog Here!
Curtis prepares my plate of food | Watch The You Tube Vlog Here!
I tuck into my oildown! | Watch The You Tube Vlog Here!
my oildown was DELICIOUS! | Watch The You Tube Vlog Here!
thank you Winston and Curtis for a fantastic day! | Watch The You Tube Vlog Here!
Posted in Uncategorized

Top Ten Tips For New You Tubers

My you tube channel is three years old! and so I am sharing what I have learned, over 32 months, with Top Ten Tips for new you tubers.

Tip 1 – Your Channel

Take time to decide what your channel is going to be about. Are you you tubing for fun or for money. Either way, make sure that whatever you choose is of genuine interest to you, otherwise you will very quickly grow bored.

Tip 2 – Your Name

Take some time to think of a suitable name for your channel. You want it to be unique, memorable, easy to find and a name that still works in ten years time. Also consider using a hashtag with your name so that a person can put it into Google search which means all your content – across social media – can be found easily.

Tip 3 – Your Growth

If you want your channel to grow at a steady pace you need to upload consistently, minimum two to three times a week. The more times you upload in a week (or even in a day), the quicker your channel will grow. There is no science or magic to it, just dedication and hard work!

Tip 4 – Your Thumbnail

A vibrant and engaging thumbnail will attract more people to your channel. I recommend www.canva.com which is very easy to use. Creating a thumbnail can be time consuming but its a skill that is worth perfecting.

Tip 5 – Your Promotion

You can promote your channel, for free, across social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, Facebook Groups, WhatsApp Stories, Instagram Stories, blogs – to name but a few. You can also promote using Google Ads. Again, its all very time consuming – especially writing a blog – but if you can master it, it is worth your while. Collaborating with other you tubers is also another way to introduce your channel to a wider audience. Below is an example of a collaboration, my very first.

Tip 6 – Your Spending

Only spend what you can afford. You don’t need the most expensive camera, computer or editing suite. It is possible to vlog on a budget. Focus on producing good and engaging content and later, once you are a little more experienced, then you can invest more in the hardware.

Tip 7 – Your Audience

Make it a priority to engage with your audience / subscribers. In particular respond to all the comments. Of course, as your channel grows it gets more difficult but in the early stages you should make a genuine effort. Also consider a give-away, a fantastic way to let your subscribers know how much you care.

Tip 8 – Your Content

Stuck on what to do next on your channel? Use national holidays, observation days and trends to help create content for your channel. You can also use celebrity death days and birthdays. Or maybe there is a special holiday or cultural event in your country that you can tie a video in with. I also recommend creating a content calendar where you can map out your plans for the coming months.

Tip 9 – Your Confidence

Speaking to yourself, whilst staring into a camera, is not as easy as it looks and you may find that the moment you try to do it, for the first time, you feel very silly or intimidated. In particular if you are filming outside and people are staring at you. The answer is to practice until you feel more confident. And don’t ask other people what they think of your channel or your latest video, they might put you off. This might make you stop altogether. Critique yourself and make the appropriate adjustments in your next video and keep it moving!

Tip 10 – Start Now!

You don’t need a fancy camera, computer or editor. You don’t even need a thumbnail because you can work on that later. Don’t let anything or anyone change your mind or slow you down, start now! Start Today!

Posted in Grenada

Here’s Why Murals Are Important!

I love murals and I recently launched a You Tube series called ‘Murals Across Grenada‘ documenting murals on the Caribbean island of Grenada

There is something magical about a mural. Experiencing a mural in a public space is very different to tip-toeing around an art gallery or shuffling through a museum.

Murals can be found in the most unusual of locations and tend to be in parts of town suffering neglect or decline. They can appear on the sides of abandoned buildings, a block of flats in that densely populated neighbourhood or that boring wall in that parking garage. Its presence is usually a surprise to the onlooker who has ‘happened’ upon it unexpectedly. They turn a corner and bam, there it is! A vibrant, intricate work of art that, more times than not, has a positive , uplifting affect on the onlooker.

A still from my 20 Foot Grenadian In Brixton vlog

This was my experience in Brixton Market in London, England. I suddenly came upon a large mural of a black man with a colourful scarf and dreads. I was in Brixton to film a vlog on another subject. I knew the mural existed, I had seen it online, but didn’t know where it was exactly. So when I ‘happened’ upon it, I was stopped me in my tracks. Grabbed by the beauty, the size, the skill in the artwork and the odd location. I had to lean right back to appreciate its full height, getting in the way of shoppers as they went about their day. The locals were now oblivious to this masterpiece, it had been there a while and was now just another fabric of the market.

After filming my other vlog I returned to the mural to film it too. The original plan was to tag it to the end of the vlog I had just filmed. Once finished I began to make my way home and there stood before me … a man … who looked suspiciously like the subject of the mural. He smiled and I could see it was him. And from his demeanour, I knew he was used to people recognising him from the mural. I approached for a chat and you can enjoy the results of that meeting is my vlog, 20 Foot Grenadian In Brixton . And yes, it’s the complete truth, that is how I met him!

A still from my Stunning Murals In Grenada vlog

I live on the tiny Caribbean island of Grenada and for its size there are plentiful artists, artwork and murals. A couple years ago I did a ‘Stunning Murals In Grenada‘ vlog documenting three murals that I passed daily. This year it felt right to document some of the other incredible murals across the island. Art, in general, seems to play a significant and important role on the island of Grenada and so I also plan to explore some of the stories behind the artwork.

But going back to the title of this blog, are murals important? Yes they are and here are the top ten reasons why.

Reason One: MURALS BREATHE NEW LIFE INTO OLD SPACES! Murals help to beautify what could be described as a run down or neglected area and help to uplift drab walls and buildings. In my new series I feature murals from a ‘Beautify Grenada’ project. Grenadian muralist, artist and film-maker, Nahshon Jeremiah, is creating a mural in every parish across the spice island and each mural is a celebration of Grenadian way of life and culture. The space he uses are mostly dull walls that people pass everyday but now they will have something to help lift their spirits as they go about their daily lives.

Reason Two: MURALS AND MURALISTS ARE INSPIRATIONAL. The whole point of a mural is to inspire, to make the onlooker think and feel. To educate, to empower and to give hope. They encourage fellow artists to raise their game and youth to deliver more than mindless graffiti. Many projects across the world have worked with groups, in the local community, to develop particular murals in the space where they live and work. These projects help to inspire, increase a sense of belonging and community and give local people a voice.

Photo by Swapnil Deshpandey on Pexels.com

Reason Three: MURALS ARE A FINANCIAL BOOST FOR LOCAL BUSINESS. Some murals are so engaging, they attract gawkers from far and wide. As a result a once forgotten street, or neighbourhood, will experience more footfall thus boosting the bottom line for local businesses. Lots of companies are also placing murals directly on the walls of their business, making the area more trendy, creating a trend and helping them to stand out from the crowd.

Photo by Anderson Guerra on Pexels.com

Reason Four: MURALS ARE INSTAGRAMMABLE. Instagram is the social media platform for the ‘selfie’ generation and instagrammers are constantly on the lookout for that perfect background. The Angel Wings murals are my favourite. So cool.


Reason Five: MURALS ARE GREAT FOR CELEBRATING ICONIC FIGURES: Famous people, from the world of entertainment, tend to live ‘larger than life’ lives anyway and so a larger than life mural is the perfect way in which to both celebrate and commemorate them. Locals love it, especially if that celebrity is from their home town. Not only does it fill them with pride but it also makes them feel closer to their icon.

Photo by Katie E on Pexels.com

Reason Seven: MURALS ARE ACCESSIBLE TO EVERYONE. Because murals are in a public space, it can be enjoyed by everyone regardless of age, wealth, religious beliefs, political persuasion or skin colour. Of course, depending on the part of the world, a mural can also be used for political propaganda.

Reason Eight: MURALS HELP IMPROVE MENTAL HEALTH: If you live in a concrete jungle, with row upon row of high rise and low rise grey buildings, it can be disheartening. It has been proven that vibrant artwork, painted over drab asphalt, not only helps to boost community spirits but also alleviates anxiety and depression . The same could be said for those who happen upon a mural whilst on a ‘pandemic’ walk escaping the home after months of lockdown. A mural allows them to stop, breathe, take in what they see, think about something else – besides what is going on in the world – breathe again and then continue with their walk!

Photo by Travis Rupert on Pexels.com

Reason Nine: MURALS ARE PEFECT FOR CARRYING A SOCIAL MESSAGE. Whether its to remind you to vote, wear a mask, not use plastic, protect the ocean, the planet or endangered animals – murals are in-your-face and engaging platforms for driving the message home. In the case of George Floyd, killed by US police over a minor incident, murals popped up across the world to both honour his memory and to encourage action against police brutality.

A mural by Jesus Cruz Artile in Berlin

Reason Ten: MURALS HONOURING COVID19 FRONT LINE WORKERS. 2020 has been a year like no other. Because of the Covid19 pandemic millions have died, and continue to die, and lives have been turned upside down due to world-wide lockdowns. But throughout it all, frontline workers, such as healthcare workers, teachers, shop owners, farmers, factory workers (to name but a few) have bravely continued to help those in need and help keep the economy ticking over. Quite fittingly, many have been honoured in murals across the world.

PHOTOGRAPHY: Hyoung Chang, The Denver Post

I hope you enjoyed this blog. Please check out my ‘Murals Across Grenada‘ vlog. And the best way to support my you tube channel is to watch the ads to the end or buy me a smoothie: https://ko-fi.com/krissmg!

Posted in Grenada

Long Live Grenada Music Festival!

I spent a perfect Saturday night swaying to sweet reggae music at the inaugural Grenada Music Festival 2019. This event is not to be confused with another event, with a similar name, that ran in Grenada from 2016 to 2018, but more on that later! 

Grenada Music Festival 2019  (GMF 2019) took place over three nights from Friday 7th to Sunday 9th June 2019. Tickets prices were (in Caribbean EC dollars) $70 in advance for Friday & Saturday and $50 on Sunday. A 3-day Season Pass was $200 and VIP tickets started at $400.

Watch My Vlog On You Tube: https://youtu.be/yXvi0PYt0M4

The three nights were themed Rythm and Soul on the Friday, Reggae Fest on the Saturday and Soca Fusion on the Sunday. Friday featured local Grenadian, Solid the Band with Jeverson Ramirez, Grenadian, Eddie Bullen and international artists, Keri Hilson and Freddie Jackson.

Saturday featured Grenada’s Pride Drummers And Dance Troupe, Grenada reggae artist Thamara St Bernard and international artists Ky-Mani Marley, Maxi Priest and Busy Signal. Sunday featured a number of top Grenada Soca artists including Lavaman, Lil’ V’ghn and Wuss Wayz. International acts were Trinidad’s, Patrice Roberts, Blaxx and Teddyson John all supported by the D’ All Starz band.

The location was a Grenada peninsular called Quarantine Point, a large, sloping and fairly wild park area on the South West coastline of Grenada. This park is popular with both locals and visitors alike who visit day and night (be careful at night) to enjoy spectacular views across the water towards the town of St George’s. A rather magical space which inspires relaxation and reflection.

Related image
Quarantine Point, home to Grenada Music Festival 2019

And magical is how I would also describe my GMF 2019 Reggae Fest experience. I attended on the Saturday only because on the Friday I had another engagement and I was planning to drop by on the Sunday but after arriving home at 4.30 am Sunday morning, and after not much sleep and cooking Sunday dinner, I was too darn tired!


Official festival flyer courtesy of Grenada Music Festival 2019

On Reggae Fest night, my friend and I parked in an area called Wall Street.  Whilst it may share the name with another famous Wall Street this one is a side road with a few local shops.  On a Friday and Saturday night it is transformed into a liming spot with a number of food trucks and music always blaring from somewhere. People tend to gather after the clubs or a concert and stay until the wee hours of the morning eating, laughing or just shooting the breeze.

We chose to park in Wall Street – and not the designated parking location which was approximately a six minute walk away – because we anticipated lots of traffic at the end of the night and it was our attempt to beat the crowds. 

The Grenada Music Festival Shuttle Bus

At the designated parking area – opposite the multi award winning Spice Island Resort – is where we caught the shuttle bus to the festival location.  As we arrived at the car park we were pleasantly surprised by the gorgeous sounds of steel pan music delivered by Cordel Byam, and Republic Bank Angel Harps. The bus service was very much welcomed because the road to Quarantine Point is uphill and rather bumpy as building works is currently in progress.  On foot it is a brisk 15  minute walk, and the last thing that you want to do when dressed up for a good night out.

At the first main gate to the festival we disembarked from the bus and joined the queue to have our tickets scanned.  Suddenly everyone stopped moving because in the distance we could hear the strains of the National Anthem. And so we all remained motionless to pay our respects. I also had butterflies because the anthem let me know that the night had officially begun. 

Entrance to GMF 2019

After scanning our tickets we walked up a short path towards the official entrance to the festival, a vibrant and colourful construction made of bamboo with red, yellow and green panels. I now wish I had taken a picture of myself in front of that entrance because it was stunning. 

As we stepped inside the vibe was warm and relaxing . The hypnotic sounds of drumming – from  Grenada’s Pride Drummers And Dance Troupe – filled the air creating a welcoming atmosphere. And then there were the pretty lighting which added to the magical experience.

To the left, under stringy lights, were food vendors and to the right were bleachers, already full with music lovers, and further on bars to buy drinks.  In the distance, I could see the stage with two big screens on either side and what appeared to be an already huge crowd.

A seating area at GMF 2019

We made our way to the food vendor area which was nicely decorated with bamboo and had picnic tables dotted around.  First I visited the bathroom which continued the bamboo theme on the outside.  I can never get used to those portable toilets, even when clean they feel grimy. But I was in and out as quickly as possible but not before washing my hands using the foot pump tap which is always amusing.

I then bought myself a meat patty with the intention of buying more to eat later and we made our way to the bar.  To purchase a drink you had to first buy a drinks ticket from a separate booth which is always a good idea for a swift service. With beers  poured into a cup we would make our way down to the stage. I say ‘down’ because the area in front of the stage was on a slope. This was advantageous because it meant everyone had a clear view, even if you were at the very back!  I was pleased to see that the crowd was not as dense as it first appeared from a distance and so we were able to find a fairly close spot.

Food vendors at GMF 2019

To our right was the VIP area. On our way down I peered briefly through the fence to see they had nicely dressed tables and chairs and a flow of food and drinks. They also had direct access to the front of the stage. I remember thinking that one day, for the right artist, I will go VIP so I can get up real close but for now I was happy liming with the big crowds.

The first Act was Grenadian, Thamara St Bernard who put on a stellar performance and showed the crowd that local artists are as talented as those from overseas. She was followed by Ky-Mani Marley who, even though I am not familiar with his music, was very entertaining. He performed a few numbers by Bob Marley, which was to be expected, but it felt especially nice because of the family connection. He has a great voice and there were times that he sounded just like his father. It occurred to me that maybe ALL of Bob Marley’s children should come together and put on a concert, now wouldn’t that be something!

Grenadian, Thamara St Bernard

The special surprise guest, introduced by Ky-Mani, was Jamaican songstress, Etana. I was delighted because I have seen her perform live before and she is world class.  She sounded so good I didn’t want her to leave the stage and I made a note to myself to see her sing live again as soon as it is physically possible.

The next artist to set the stage alight was the individual I was really there for, Maxi Priest! Now Maxi and I are from the same neck of the woods, Lewisham in London, England. In fact I knew Maxi before global fame!  It’s always an odd feeling when someone from your part of the world is world wide famous.

Etana & Ky-Mani Marley, GMF 2019

Well Maxi did not disappoint, in fact he sounded better than ever. I have seen Maxi perform live a number of times and I can say, hands down, that this was one of his best performances. Not only was he looking particularly fit and healthy – with his melt your heart signature grin – but his voice was super strong and clear and each number was delivered to perfection.   I did smile at the Paddington Bear hat and oversized dark glasses but when an individual embodies that much talent, the choice of dress becomes irrelevant and you are caught up in the mystical moment. 

I could be wrong but Jamaican dance-hall artists record A LOT  of songs! Well Busy Signal is no exception to that and it seemed like he was determined to perform ALL his songs that night because he was on stage for, what felt like, a long time (insert smile emoji here!)

Maxi Priest, GMF 2019

That was OK though because Busy gave an amazing performance and was the right act to close the night. He burst on to the stage like a rock star and the energy levels went up around ten notches.  He spat out some high energy numbers, most of which I was not familiar with, but I was captivated all the same.

Later he would transition smoothly from high energy to groovy, the atmosphere was relaxed and chilled and felt more like an intimate nightclub, with people grabbing their loved ones to rock to each tune. And I was nicely surprised to hear he had a good singing voice sounding very close to his records. Much later, when we realised he was never going to leave the stage (again, I’m smiling) we made our way back to the food vendors to watch the remainder of his set on the big screen whilst chowing down on some delicious chicken along with ice cold beer.

Busy Signal, GMF 2019

All in All, Grenada Music Festival 2019 gave more than its moneys worth that Saturday night. It definitely exceeded expectations. It felt professional and well organised, the atmosphere was both chilled and electric, the crowd was just the right size, the food was delicious and the entertainment was top notch.

Remember I used the word ‘inaugural’ earlier? Well there was another event called ‘Pure Grenada Music Festival’ which launched in 2016 but was cancelled in 2018. Some people either didn’t realise that it was cancelled or thought that maybe they had changed their minds and brought it back.  No, it is still very much cancelled as announced on their own website  https://bit.ly/2XjcpVt

I was wondering who this new entity was and have since discovered that GMF 2019 was delivered by Q West Productions – https://grenadamusicfest.com – which I believe is owned by Grenadian promoter, Steve Duncan. 

I have a soft spot for the first festival because I both worked and volunteered with them and so when they announced the cancellation it not only came as a surprise but I was also very disappointed. I believe an international music festival is exactly what Grenada needs. It could become a valuable and very important product in Grenada. I liken it to the Olympic Games, a real headach to organise, with people working around the clock to exhaustion and (at first) bleeds money but the national pride gained from it is tenfold. For the record, I also worked with London 2012 Olympic Game organisers so I know a lot about working to exhaustion!

The music festival product can help to boost the economy, bring the local community together, can really put the island of Grenada on the tourist map as well as help raise the profile of sponsors and local businesses. Local acts are not only exposed to an international audience but get to rub shoulders and learn from music veterans in the business.

With Angelique Kidjo, PGMF 2016

Q West Productions must have thought the same thing because they did not miss a beat announcing the launch of their music festival in April 2019. And the huge crowd in attendance shows how much people welcomed it.

And with a few tweaks, in a few years, Grenada Music Festival will be able to stand toe-to-toe with more established festivals across the world.  As long as they have a tight team and the attitude remains professional, the possibilities are limitless.

Nobody asked for my two cents but here are the tweaks that I hope they address to ensure the festival remains a safe environment as it grows in popularity. It includes a better crowd management system, especially around the shuttle buses which had people jostling with each other to board both before and after the event. Better lighting between the the entrance to Quarantine Point and the official entrance to the festival.

More cups at the bar. I believe they must have run out because they started to hand out bottles which was then left strewn all over the park grounds. Not only was it a tripping hazard but if there were to be some kind of crowd unrest the perfect weapon is right at their feet.

They should also consider more Green initiatives, for example paper instead of plastic cups, to leave less of a footprint.  I was also surprised that no one checked our bags, or persons, as we entered the venue and that we were not given a guest tag for our wrists.

That being said though, I look forward to Grenada Music Festival 2020 which has already been announced on their social media and I am crossed fingers that this event will have a long and successful life on our beautiful Isle of Spice.